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The 2013 Election & The Media

During the 2013 Federal election there was perhaps been more debate than usual on the role of the media on election outcomes - as well as issues directly affecting our industry such as the NBN, election advertising spend and more.

Here we offer an overview of various articles and opinion on these issues.  As usual the comments can be just as insightful as the articles...

Media Ownership in Australia2013 Election & the Media - Daily Telegraph

  • FactCheck: Does Murdoch Own 70% of Newspapers in Australia (via The Conversation) - News Corp Australia titles account for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers, with sales of 17.3 million papers a week, making it Australia’s most influential newspaper publisher by a considerable margin.
  • Australia's Lamentable Media Diversity Needs a Regulatory Fix (via The Conversation) - Three owners – News Limited, Fairfax Media and APN News and Media – hold approximately 98% of the sector, and two of these owners, News and Fairfax, together hold about 88% of the print media assets in the country. With the exception of Sydney and Melbourne, no other large Australian city has more than a single daily newspaper. 
  • Our Fast Vanishing National Media Diversity (via Crikey) - In fact, our national media diversity comes down to the Murdochs, Kerry Stokes, James Packer, the Gordons, the private equity-controlled Nine and Fairfax. And the first four of those are already acting in concert in various permutations across free-to-air and subscription television.

Election Advertising Spend

  • The Government's Boat Visa Ads are Targeting Voters - Not Asylum Seekers (via Tim Burrowes @Mumbrella) - Once you’ve been writing about the media industry for a while, it’s easy to forget just how little the average member of the public knows about how advertising is planned and bought. So those of us within the media buying bubble may be assuming this weekend that everyone in Australia has noticed the scandal going on under our noses. We may be wrong.Election 2013 & The Media - Election Advertising Spending
  • Liberals Double Ad Spend as Polling Day Nears (via AdNews) - The liberal party doubled its ad spend last week, spending $1.6m on advertising over the seven days to 28 August. The party has spent a total of $3.1m on ads during the campaign season. The Australian Labor Party also upped its spend by nearly $1m in ad spend during the week, focus on its “If he wins, Australians lose” anti-Abbott ads. The party's total ad spend to date reached $2.7m. Clive Palmer's United Palmer Party was the third highest spender in the last week spending $1.17m, the lion's share of almost all of the controversial candidate's $1.26m ad spend to date.
  • Liberals Leave Nothing to Chance (via TheAustralian) - GOVERNMENT is almost in its grasp but the Liberal Party has left nothing to chance in the final days of the campaign, this week launching a free-to-air television advertising blitz in five major cities. The party invested 45 per cent of its metro free-to-air TV campaign in just a four-day period, between Sunday and when the blackout on political broadcast advertising began at midnight on Wednesday, according to an analysis by advertising monitoring firm Ebiquity.

Media Influence on Election Outcomes

  •  The Headline Worm  - an experiment created by MediaCom strategist - Nic Hodges - to develop a greater understanding of the perceptions of bias in Australian digital media during the 2013 federal election.
  • Election Issues the Murdoch Press Should Learn (via - In the opening week of the 2013 election, the Murdoch print media elected to engage in one of the most focused partisan propaganda campaigns in recent Australian political history. However, fear that News Limited's blatant propaganda will automatically swing the election is considerably overdrawn.
  • Can Social Media Swing Votes in this Election Campaign? (The Conversation) - In Australia’s compulsory voting setting, politicians must show they are at least keeping up with normality of social media but are largely using it simply as a broadcast channel. Put simply, social media cannot compete with the influence of mainstream mass media for political messaging. Television and print media – and their mirror-sites online – will always be more powerful.Election 2013 & The Media
  • Can Murdoch Truly Influence the Upcoming Election? Not Quite (via The Guardian) - Evidence suggests there is no correlation between reader’s media consumption and how they vote. It seems that Murdoch has mistaken influence for credibility - splashing his personal agenda all over the front page of his mastheads, does nothing but diminish his own questionable (hello, News of the World!) personal standing.
  • Election IOU: How will Murdoch Call in Abbott's Debt to Him? (via Crikey) - The News Corp wishlist for media policy is likely to be substantial -

    •   - A new look at anti-siphoning rules
    •   - More handouts for free-to-air networks and in particular Lachlan   Murdoch’s Ten Network
    •   - A return of government recruitment advertising to newspapers
    •   - Curb the ABC I: undoing of the Gillard government’s decision to permanently award Australia’s international television service to the ABC
    •   - Curb the ABC II: as both News Corp and its main rival, Fairfax, are moving behind paywalls, the ABC remains a key competitor
    •   - 100% control of Foxtel - which can only be achieved by forcing out the other 50% shareholder - Telstra
  • News Corp's Tight Grip on Newspapers Shapes Australia's Politics (via NYTimes) - Jonathan Holmes, a prominent media commentator on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, says that the kind of tabloid treatment given to Mr. Rudd and the election has a greater impact because a single company’s papers are so dominant. They can effectively become, he said, a “political battering ram.” “Behavior that would be completely O.K. in a genuinely pluralistic media environment is very much less O.K. in a market where you have such a dominant position,”.
  • Murdoch's Might: How Much Do Newspapers Influence Elections (via Crikey - login required) - Labor is screaming over biased reporting in News Corporation titles. But does the endorsement of Rupert Murdoch and his editors influence the outcome of elections? The chequered record of editorial backing by Murdoch’s three major mastheads since the 1970s suggests a muted influence, at best, according to a Crikey search through the dusty archives …

Communications & The NBN

  • NBN: The Difference Between the Two Plans (via TheAge) - The two major parties are at odds over how much the country should spend to have better broadband connection. Underneath all the bluster, are their proposals so different? While policy wonks and politicians claim broadband remains one area where the major parties offer voters a real choice, there are more similarities than many realise. There are differences - including network speeds, construction efforts, and using the Telstra copper network - but not as many as Labor politicians have been claiming during this campaign.
  • How Fast Is the NBN? - Well known interactive site which offers a practical 'demonstration outlining the striking difference between the Labor and Coalition NBN proposals'
  • NBN: The Key to Path Finding (via AdNews) - In many respects, the major parties' approach to the NBN is not dissimilar. Both sides acknowledge the issue and need, but one party is for proactive action that could be described as nation building and the other is about letting the market decide what is to be provided and delivered. The fundamental difference is what we as Australian citizens will get and what it will mean to us in a decade or more. And this is where the big risk lies.


  • Elephant in the Ballroom: Ignoring Privacy in the Federal Election (via Delimiter) - Do the parties even recognise the online privacy concerns of many Australians? Judging by their statements, the answer is no. Is there an indication of what they’ll do in future, particularly how they’ll address tensions regarding law enforcement, the cloud, human rights, social network services, big data and so forth? No.
  • Facebook to Feel Heat Over Taxes (The Australian - log-in required) -"YOU don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies," went the tag line for The Social Network, the 2010 Hollywood movie about the founding of Facebook. It is a line that may resonate loudly for Facebook's Australian operations after the federal election. 


Further Resources

  • MediaScapes - well-known visual guides to a growing range of media channels including digital, cinema, tv and outdoor
  • - Tailored Services - MediaScope offers a range of well-regarded tailored services for marketers and media agencies - and media owners and advertising specialists addressing all segments of the advertising sales process.  Full outline of services here
  • - MediaScope MarketPlace - selected opportunities and offers for marketers. agencies, media owners and advertising sales specialists - exclusive to MediaScope


Other Pages of Interest